Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Former Al-Akhbar contributor tears them to pieces for Assad apologetics

[Originally posted at NOW Lebanon]

Max Blumenthal, the influential left-wing American journalist who was until yesterday a contributor to Al-Akhbar English, has today terminated his column and written an incandescent attack on his former colleagues and the Assad regime itself.

And, Christ, is it good. It’s all there: the “malevolent propaganda” of Amal Saad-Ghorayeb; the “dillentantish [sic] quasi-analysis” of Sharmine Narwani; the “friendly advice for Bashar Assad” from editor-in-chief Ibrahim al-Amin; the “nickel-and-diming” of the civilian death toll; and the “outlandish ravings” of the “morally compromised outlet” in general. He writes punishingly of the paper’s whitewashing the regime’s “pornographically violent crackdowns on what by all accounts is still a mostly homegrown resistance” as well its “long record of exploiting the Palestinian struggle to advance its narrow self-interests.” And he brilliantly ridicules the manner in which its apologetics have emulated the crudest examples of Israeli and US propaganda (I’ve been wondering myself where all this “leftist” hate for al-Qaeda was during the Bush years).

There are far too many haymakers to quote in a blog post of this size, but the one with which he concludes is perhaps the most damning:

“A few years ago, while visiting the offices of the Nation Magazine, a publication I frequently write for, I reflected on what it might have been like to be working there during the 1930s when its editorial leadership supported Stalin and willfully ignored his crimes. What were the internal debates like, I wondered, and how would I have reacted? The past few weeks at Al Akhbar have brought those questions back into my thoughts, and they are no longer hypothetical.”

The only remaining question is how Al-Akhbar and its groupies will respond. My guess is old-fashioned baseless accusation. Bought by the Lobby? Closet neocon? Naiive, provincial American who doesn’t even speak Arabic? I can’t wait to find out.

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